Integrated campaigns achieve the objectives of a marketing campaign through the well-coordinated use of different channels and promotional methods in a fashion designed to complement and reinforce one-another. In essence this campaign delivers the same set of messages to a targeted audience, through multiple points of contact across multiple channels or mediums.
Typically, an integrated campaign would consist of a set of online marketing content and tools connected together with one or more events: (e.g. a webinar), a number of outbound emails, and a series of sales calls, all of which are supported by automated email nurturing techniques.
As communications and marketing channels converge, agencies need to tap diverse expertise and experience to build engaging, creative campaigns. Today’s marketing professionals have to be proficient not only in traditional media like television, radio, and print, but also in social media, mobile, and viral marketing. The KEY to rolling out an effective campaign across multiple platforms is an integrated marketing communications plan.
Here’s how to build and execute a comprehensive, integrated marketing strategy that will track your efforts and drive results.
IDENTIFY YOUR CUSTOMER
The first step in developing a communications plan is to determine whom you want the campaign to reach. Consider the following demographic factors: education level, gender, income, age, race, and geographic location. Follow up with analyzing behavioral and psychological traits, including things like interests, hobbies, and values. Develop a highly targeted customer persona. This will serve as the foundation for all the strategic and creative decisions that shape the campaign, help develop key messages and to identify the best communication channels to reach them.
In some cases, you may have more than one customer profile for a given campaign. In that case, be sure to complete each of the following steps for each persona, as each customer persona requires a tailored strategy within the communications plan.
SET CLEAR OBJECTIVES
In addition to knowing your customer, understanding your objectives is key to a successful plan. Are you looking to drive revenue, build brand awareness, develop customer affinity, or expand your reach?
Keeping in mind your identified goals, figure out what would be the most suitable content assets, how you map them onto your goals and how they help your buyer through their journey. Smart marketers will align a campaign’s goals with the overall sales and marketing objectives of the company, such as increasing brand awareness, generating more leads, enhancing lead nurturing and ultimately – getting more customers. Great marketers, however, will work on a list with particular goals for each campaign, making sure that they are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound (SMART Goals).
Pick your channels
Think about the channels to focus on and the portion of your budget to allocate to each. Ask yourself, “‘Which channels do my customers use?’, ‘What are the channels’ strengths and weaknesses? How will they help me reach my business objectives?'”
Be ruthless in selecting (and rejecting channels). Concentrate on the more effective channels. Don’t sink ad dollars and time into channels that aren’t going to be effective or give you the ROI you’re looking for.
One of the key functions of an integrated marketing communications plan is to enable you and your team to tailor content for each of your selected channels, while maintaining a consistent message. By using the same content in different ways across multiple channels, you create cohesion, and save money by minimizing the need for multiple creative assets.
While messaging should be tailored to each individual channel, you must be certain your visual brand identity remains consistent across all. This goes beyond having a logo present and entails having an overarching design. Ensure your colors / fonts / style of graphics and photography are consistent. The company theme should be highly visible. Prospects should be able to make an immediate visual connection when seeing your ads, no matter where those ads live.
Create Repurposable Content
It can take more than five impressions for an individual to recognize a brand or specific marketing message; ensure messaging and offers are clear, compelling and consistent.
In addition, ensure that every piece of content you develop can be used in multiple places. For instance, a white paper could be broken down and made into 6 different blog posts. You could take the content from a popular blog post and turn it into a script to create a more engaging video. Remember to think of your audience on each channel to determine the best kind of content to develop.
Get Your Team on Board
Make sure that all team members working on different projects within the same integrated campaign, are on the same page so messaging and band image stays consistent. Ensure there is someone to monitor and coordinate their efforts, to ensure your branding has a consistent look and feel across channels.
Measure, Track and Adjust
Before launching the campaign, decide which key performance indicators (KPIs) you plan to use to measure results. Maintain open lines of communication within your team, making it easy for everyone to stay nimble and optimize the campaign as analytical data becomes available.
You might use A/B testing to determine which headlines, images, and calls to action drive the best performance, implement tracking to measure how well coupons and promo codes convert across different platforms and partners, a specific tracking platform for your social media channels and a simple 1-800 number for your print campaigns. If you’re not getting the ROI you had aimed for, adjust and try again.
These steps are fairly common sense, and yet it is incredible how many marketers skip right over most of them. Always consider how each channel and message should work together to drive a particular action. If you follow these 7 steps, your integrated campaigns will be highly successful.